“so Moses stood in the gate of the camp and said, “Whoever is for Yahweh, come to me!” And all the sons of Levi gathered together to him. 27 And he said to them, “Thus says Yahweh, the God of Israel, ‘Every man among you put his sword upon his thigh, and go back and forth from gate to gate in the camp, and kill every man his brother and every man his friend and every man his neighbor.’” 28 So the sons of Levi did according to the word of Moses, and about three thousand men of the people fell that day. 29 Then Moses said, “Be ordained today to Yahweh—for every man has been against his son and against his brother—in order that He may bestow a blessing upon you today.””(Ex. 32:26-29 LSB) https://accordance.bible/link/read/LSB#Ex._32:26
When God lived among us as one of us, He said we must love Him more than wife, child, sibling, neighbor or self. That only makes sense if there is a God that He should require us to love Him most, value Him most and obey Him first regardless of what anyone else in our lives wants or is doing, including ourselves. When Moses returned to Israel with the commands of God written on stone by God, he found the camp in chaos. The people were worshipping false gods and partying in a way that displeased the One true God. Moses asks who is on God’s side and the priests came. These priests then slew all those who were disobeying God in camp, 3000 people, as punishment from God for their rebellion against God. Jesus said His church is His priesthood, the means by which He makes Himself known to the world so that the world can rightly respond to God. The church cannot be asleep at its mission nor lethargic in its application lest people die without Christ and suffer eternally for their sin. God is making His appeal through His people and His people must decide whom are they going to try and please? The One true God Who saved them and rewards them, or men who use them and consume them for their own purposes? We cannot please men and God; we must choose this day whom we will serve. The world reflects the quality of work the church has accomplished. To be effective in this world for God, we must deny ourselves, take up our cross and follow Him, by loving His work more than ourselves. Unless we die to self, we cannot bear eternal fruit but if we die we will bear fruit that lasts for all eternity changing the eternal destiny of people around us and achieving for God glory on earth as He has in heaven.